On August 13, 2008, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I can still remember the sense of relief that I could be fixed. The month prior to my revelation I had been in for an endoscope of my belly. When I came out of my drug induced relaxation, my doctor told me he had some good news and some okay news. The good news: I didn’t have an ulcer or any unusual bumps, the okay news: I probably have celiac disease.
My first question: “Is there gluten in rice?”
“No”, replies the doctor.
Me: “Okay, then I’ll be fine.”
While in surgery, he took a biopsy of my stomach and told me the results were going to take a few weeks, he also sent me for another blood test and told me to continue eating gluten until I had the results in case they needed to run anymore tests.
On my drive home I decided I had three and a half weeks to eat whatever I wanted. My system was already used to being sick all the time, so I went full out. I admit that I didn’t know a lot about celiac, so I bought one book (mostly to make sure I ate all the gluten I could) and I planned to deal with the celiac thing starting the day after my appointment.
What does one eat while saying goodbye to gluten?
- so much pizza (homemade and restaurant)
- Chinese food = most importantly dim sum, ginger beef (in Alberta), any vegetable in oyster sauce or hoisin, salt & pepper squid and many dumplings (I am proudly 1/4 Chinese and this was one of the hardest things for me to give up)
- Japanese food = most importantly shrimp and veggie tempura, any sushi roll with tempura in it
- Pasta! (homemade and restaurant)
- Chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips
- Crispy crunch cake with white chocolate icing
- Bread = croissant, pain au chocolat, baguette, biscuits, dinner rolls (homemade), cranberry orange bread and cinnamon toast
- Beer = Dieu du Ciel
The day of my results appointment I planned a last hoorah at my favorite Ethiopian restaurant and then beers at DdC. If only I had read my book a wee bit more, I would have known that Ethiopian bread is traditionally made from teff and is perfectly safe for people avoiding gluten!
Hears a taste:
I love going to Nil Bleu. Ethiopian is best enjoyed in groups and when you have a lot of time. I would not recommend Ethiopian before a show, deadlines do not exist in this world.
You eat with your hands, teff bread is your utensil. The mix of flavours and spices are unique and delicious. From the spicy and tangy berber sauce to the sweet, stewed potatoes and carrots. So good.
What I ate (and can still eat!):
Doro Watt – spiced chicken with onions and a boiled egg
Assa Watt – fish cooked in berber sauce
Gommen – spinach
Yatakelt Watt – potatoes, cabbage and carrot
Yebeg Tibbs – lamb with green peppers and ginger
In my many trips to Nil Bleu, I think I have mastered the perfect order.
Start with 1 vegetarian platter, then add 1 meat/per person.
Example – For a group of 4, I would order:
1 vegetarian platter
1 Doro Watt
1 Yebeg Tibbs
1 Assa Watt
More people = more meat and an extra spinach.